August 29, 2014

East Ayrshire ‘like the Somme’ from the air

Cumnock Chronicle | 29 Aug 2014 |

The once-beautiful East Ayrshire countryside now resembles the scarred and battered battlegrounds from one of World War One’s most brutal battles.

That was a statement from Doon Valley Councillor John Bell, who claimed shocking satellite pictures of the area reminded him of images from the Battle of the Somme.

He was speaking out as East Ayrshire Council rejected the latest wind farm plans for Dalmellington – with the Scottish Government set to make the final decision.

And referring to the mess left behind by the opencasts, he said: “This is just a general comment. But when you look at that and the satellite picture of East Ayrshire it looked like the Somme – villages separated by battlefields, in this case the opencasts

“Were back in the same situation here. It will be the cumulative impact of so many wind farms and that’s why we need to keep objecting.”

His view was shared across the board as they met to discuss the proposed 19 wind turbines at Glenmount, Near Dalmellington.

The development was lodged by RWE npower renewables last year and has gone through a lengthy consultation process – with it being overwhelmingly opposed.

At Friday’s meeting, Cllr John McDowall said he feels East Ayrshire need to be STRONGER with their opposition.

He said: “I’ve been looking at our report and our opposition. For me that is not strong enough wording. For me it would be a disaster if these turbines were allowed so close to the River Doon. I would ask the council to have a much stronger wording on their objection. We can’t allow this to happen.”

Local councillor Moira Pirrie added: “Everyone is aware of my feelings. There are far too many objections. I don’t know why were back here even discussing it as there can only ever be one decision on this. We have to object.”

As well as the issues with the amenity, the volume of new traffic – 3000 vehicle movements are needed to move stone to the site – the cumulative impact of another wind farm, Cllr Bell also pointed out the danger to ospreys.

He said: “The vibration of the blasts is a concern for me. It will disturb the wildlife. When we were on the site visit we were very fortunate to see the ospreys. This blasting will disturb the birds. There is also black grouse. If this gets permission I would like the condition that there would be no blasting during the breeding season.

“A precedent for this has been set by Western isles Council and they stopped blasting in the summer months – if this has to go ahead I would like something similar here.”

The Scottish Government will have the final say on the 19-turbine farm.

Ministers ignored EAC’s objection to Scottish Power’s Dersalloch development when they granted them permission to build 23 turbines at the site.

The proposal for South Kyle – where 50 wind turbines are planned – remains outstanding and a decision is likely to be made later this year.

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